Adventure Travel in Panama

Back to Programs

A Guide to Adventure Travel to Panama

Situated along the equator, a trip to the land of Panama sure does hit the hotspot. From the lush rainforests to the islands along the coastline, the beating of drums from street performers and the ever-changing weather, Panama is thumping with a vibrance and character that is completely its own. With bustling cities, rough natural settings, and diverse wildlife, the landscape of Panama is a pulsing siren, calling all explorers and meaningful travel enthusiasts to delve in! Often overlooked in favor of its neighbor Costa Rica, you shouldn’t miss the adventures in Panama which awaits, allowing travelers to explore epic wilderness and plunging sea-dives and mingling with charming primates.

Where to Travel in Panama

With a population of just under four million, Panama is more like a big village than a small country. Widely focused on maintaining a balance between traditional and modern, Panama is asserting itself as a strong contender for an up and coming travel locale! With heaps of nature to discover, you will never be stuck for choice when it comes to picking your next adventure. 

Panama City — and the prize for the most original city name goes to….!  A central hub for all things cosmopolitan, Panama City is one of the most modern cities in Central America. While it is saturated in fascinating history and a thriving community spirit, the city still begs to be explored. The city is only a short distance from sandy beaches, which seem to stretch for miles, and thick rainforests, which buzz with the sounds of busy wildlife. With opportunities for luxury camping, you won’t have to give up your home comforts to explore these fabulous sights.

David is often overlooked for its louder, brighter and action-packed sister cities. It’s the kind of place you only think of as a pit stop to refuel on your travels — only to discover how incredible and spectacular the place is, making you wish you could give it more time. Sure, you’re not going to find towering skyscrapers, air-conditioned museums, or pounding music emitting from underground clubs, but you wouldn’t be looking for those things if it was an adventure you were seeking! With prime opportunities to get up and personal with nature, mingling with adorable primates, and scaling through breathtaking natural scenes, David will certainly leave a lasting impression. 

If David is the quiet sibling, Portobelo certainly makes up for it with its color, vibrancy, and extravagant cultural setting. With boat trips that can be around the sparkling Panama bays through the Fuerte San Fernando, you can choose between staying above the water or diving below (Por que no los dos — why not both?). Relax in a leisurely lounge as you observe the dancing waters and frivolous sea creatures which creep beneath the surface, or wetsuit up for a pulsing heart-pumping adventure of deep sea diving or snorkeling. 

Types of Adventures in Panama

Enticing people from all walks of life, Panama begs for its travelers to explore! From the golden beaches to bustling markets, epic nature trails to adrenaline-fueled excursions, there is something for everyone to get involved with. 

Imagine yourself swimming with turtles, camping under a canopy of stars, climbing and dangling over a deep precipice, or hiking through the nature perfect mountains. Panama is a land of opportunity brimming with excitement, hospitality and non-stop action! Adventures in Panama are boundless. Whether you’re looking for a heart-stopping, heart-melting, or heartfelt experience, you are sure to find a host of activities to keep your mind racing.

Plenty of travel programs in Panama offer you the chance to working on the land itself, where you’ll learn about the plants and animals which inhabit the region.The leafy aiphanes which sweep the farmlands and scurrying beasts which whisper from the trees, the sounds of the Panamanian jungle will ring in your ears forever. 

Wrapped in an incredible history, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the this country. The people are deeply impassioned about running their villages. They are bursting for the chance to show off their culture, so not only will you be offered the chance to delve in and sample some of the traditional Panama lifestyle, you will also be feverishly encouraged! Source out a few guide books on Panama tourism which will lay out an itinerary for the must-see hotspots and amenities for English speakers to make navigating around the place just that little bit easier. 

Costs of Travel in Panama

Good news for all intrepid Americans! The U.S. dollar is considered a legal tender in Panama, and thus, no need to rush off to the post office and deal with exchange rates. Due to low inflation, cost of living is drastically more inexpensive than the United States, it would still be wise to implement a budget for your travels (psst FundMyTravel can help you raise money). 

With optimal choice for low-cost cuisine and affordable accommodations, you can be rest assured that your travel savings won’t take too hard of a beating. For most programs you can expect your fee to cover accommodation and some sightseeing as well as some work experience and field study.

As the Panama tourism industry is growing, there is a high competition between businesses in cities to entice the public! Even in the markets, you can find incredible bargains and even take a chance at some negotiating for a lower price from some vendors. With a fairly modern transportation system that has a selection of bus services and trains to get you around, you can map out exactly which spots to hit up, and craft the perfect route to get you there!

Accommodation for Travelers in Panama

Millions of tourists head south to travel in Panama each year, proving itself to be the next upcoming hot spot in Central America. Depending on what arrangements travelers are expecting, you can find almost any suitable accommodation to suit your needs. From niche little hostels to dazzling hotels that put the Ritz to shame (maybe not that far!), have a good look into what is available in the city you are visiting. Most hotels will offer standard amenities such as free wifi, hot water, and air conditioning, so don’t feel you are giving up your home luxuries by traveling overseas! 

Don’t overlook programs for homestays! It might seem a little daunting shacking up with a stranger, but isn’t one of the main incentives for travel to meet new people? Push yourself? Try new things? It’s cheap, safe, and you’ll make a friend for life while doing it. Plenty of families open their doors to tourists across the globe! Plus, staying in digs is the perfect insight into what life is really like across the world. You’ll get to see behind closed doors and develop a profound understanding for family and cultural life.

Tourist Visas for Travel in Panama

Visa requirements vary on your nationality. Citizens from the United States and many European countries do not need a visa to enter Panama, and visitors from these places can stay up to 180 days (with extensions possible). Visit the GoAbroad Embassy Directory to check your eligibility for visa free entry.

Benefits & Challenges

Panama is a one-stop shop for those looking to experience every type of break imaginable: beaches that appear to be straight out of a luxury holiday brochure, exciting cities bursting with life and the spirit of the Panama culture, and the hospitable and tantalizing people. From relaxation to exploring, education to soaking in fine art, dancing to sampling delicious new foods, undergoing turtle dives to scaling down the side of a cliff, you will never experience a dull moment while moving through the epic landscape of your adventures in Panama!

Be cautious when traveling through cities, as while Panama may not be rife with disease, you do face the risk of catching the likes of malaria, yellow fever, and the zika virus. Speak with your physician before heading off, and take all the necessary precautions (vaccinations might be your best bet). A few bottles of mosquito repellent isn’t going to take up that much room in your suitcase!

Lose the idea that Panama is nothing more than an agricultural hub in Central America, and fall in love with its wild side!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Adventure Travel to Panama


 Choose Your Adventure in Panama


This listing has been saved 298 times

Conservation, Community and Adventure Placements from $255

With more than 400 projects worldwide and with 25 years experience of providing ethical travel placements, Frontier can find you the perfect adventure whatever you want to achieve. We offer placements in more than 50 countries including Costa Rica, Madagascar, Fiji and loads more. Here are just some of the options available: Marine Conservation and Diving Travel to beach paradises, scuba...


This listing has been saved 40 times

Adventure Never Grows Old with Broadreach

If you're looking to experience the world, climb aboard. Since 1993, Broadreach has taken over 12,000 students on adventures abroad for middle school, high school and college students. Prepare for hands-on experience, trying new things, making lifelong friends and having amazing adventures while earning a pile of certifications as proof of your achievements. The world awaits!


This listing has been saved 3 times

Outward Bound Costa Rica: Girl Scout Destinations

Experience an unforgettable adventure with fellow Girl Scouts from across the United States! Our four GSUSA Destinations courses in Costa Rica and Panama will give you an opportunity to visit remote rainforest villages with family homestays, serve local indigenous communities, scuba dive among the colorful coral reefs of the Caribbean Ocean, protect the region’s fragile ecosystem, catch waves o...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Sea|mester Study Abroad at Sea

Sea|mester delivers unique educational journeys where students spend their entire semester at sea, sailing between islands, countries and even continents throughout countless global locations. We offer students the opportunity of discovering… the world by sea, knowledge beyond the classroom and their utmost potential.


Hurricane Island Outward Bound School

The offshore islands and rocky coastline of Maine, a state in the New England region of the US, are home to the Hurricane Island Outward Bound school started in 1964. From its recent headquarters in Camden (a town on Penobscot Bay), the school operates in four locations so students can sign up for a program that matches their interests - whether a sailing course off the coast of Maine or a back...


Global Works - Travel with Purpose

American participants with experience in traveling and working with high school students can apply for this Global Works program. Lead and assist in cultural activities as a Camp Counselor for two to six weeks in Panama. This paid work placement comprises of Language Immersion, Community Service, and Cultural Exchange.


This listing has been saved 2 times

Volunteer & Surf in Panama

Give & Surf is committed to empowering the indigenous people of Bocas del Toro, Panama, through education and community development. As a volunteer-driven organization, it depends on the more than 200 volunteers who visits each year to deliver educational programs and help take on new construction projects. Volunteers will have the opportunity to be immersed in the Ngobe culture and to help ...


EcoCircuitos Panama

We are a young and dynamic tour operator that strives to raise awareness through the use of ecotourism as a conservation and development tool. We make sure to combine fun outdoor activities, cultural exchange, educational tours and nature preservation to make a memorable vacation for our clients.


This listing has been saved 2 times

Photo and Video Journalism in Panama

Join Experience Mamoní to execute photo or video documentary-focused projects that celebrate natural surroundings. As a member of the media documentation team, you will lend your artistic voice to public image and multimedia presentations, and you will be a key communicator of the Experience Mamoní story of biocultural renewal to the world through social networks. Projects provide unique opp...


Los Cayucos: Panama, The Road Less Traveled

Participate in a 15-day community service and Spanish exposure program in Los Cayucos, on the beautiful San Blas Island of Panama. Ideal for teenagers, this program entails staying and working hand in hand with the Kuna Indians in constructing a community house, paddling cayucos or dugout wooden canoes from one island to another, surfing and snorkeling the aquamarine waters, and exploring the u...